A new Menu Insights report from Food Channel research partner Mintel International tells us that the world is flat. At least the bread world seems to be going that way. Flatbread is the culinary fashion food trend in restaurant chains across the USA.
As Mintel’s Kathy Hayden notes, flatbread, or foccacia, is not as thin as a burrito wrap, yet much thinner than a bulky roll or even two pieces of sliced bread. It brings new dimension, improved portability and (sometimes) fewer calories to sandwiches. It also fits well into panini grills.
Here’s a roundup of the flatbread phenomenon.
McDonald’s. The burger chain has been testing Chicken Flatbreads in limited markets. The bread is grilled, then stuffed with grilled chicken and upscale extras such as basil pesto, garlic aïoli and fontina cheese; each of the four varieties being tested comes in at around 300 calories.
Buffalo Wild Wings recently revamped its menu to allow more customization options, including a new menu offering: Spinach Artichoke Chicken Flatbread.
Fazoli’s. Flatbread’s not a lower-calorie option here. The fast casual pasta chain is testing a concept that wraps carbs in more carbs. Its pasta wraps, in test markets this summer, include a sausage and pepper penne; a spaghetti and meatball, and a chicken Florentine Alfredo.
Brixx. This pizza chain transforms its dough into sandwich bread, offering such menu options as a wild mushroom wrap with wood-roasted Portobello, shiitake and button mushrooms with roasted red peppers, gorgonzola cheese, fresh spinach and sun-dried tomato aïoli wrapped in toasted flat bread.
Subway. The sandwich chain has made a major push for its breakfast sandwiches this summer, including a flatbread option. Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks have also introduced flatbread breakfast sandwiches.
Restaurant operators are attracted to flatbread’s studier composition that helps sandwiches to hold up better to sauces, and to travel better as a grab & go choice. With so many flatbread variations available, including things like Southeastern roti, Indian dosa, and French crepes, Mintel predicts that menu developers will continue to explore how flatter bread can make for better sandwiches.
For more insights and innovations check out CultureWaves®, the place to go for the latest observations in the World Thought Bank – events, ideas, trends and more. Add your own thoughts about anything in life – entertainment, design, technology, well-being and, yes, food trends. And, take a look at a few of our other Hot & Cool Food Trends.